- 1. Cannabis policy in the world is changing rapidly
Cannabis policy in the world is changing rapidly
Americans seem to have a lingering idea of what cannabis politics look like around the world. But the vision sold by Hollywood and globetrotters is changing… Getting a good smoke in Amsterdam, or on the beaches of Jamaica is the vision we all share. That of a joint in Phuket too, but at the risk of ending up in a Thai prison for life ... But none of these notions really ring true. Around the world, cannabis policies are changing as quickly as they are changing ...
Analysis of the Drug Policy Alliance
A few regions have long tolerated limited recreational consumption, such as the Dutch city of Amsterdam. As well as in Spain with its cannabis club, a sector still in full expansion. But just half a decade ago none of these countries or jurisdictions had legalized marijuana… Nationally, that changed in 2012, when Colorado and Washington voted for recreational marijuana. Since then, six more states - including California - have followed, with 28 states now allowing medical marijuana.
The rise in legalization at the national level is, according to some, ironic. And Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, asserts that if cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, the United States now leads the world when it comes to "designing and implementing innovative cannabis regulatory policies." "
La California notably opened a new path with the November 8 passage of Proposition 64. Nadelmann said this is the first legalization initiative to incorporate a number of components of social justice. Including the removal of criminal penalties for most crimes related to marijuana, victims of the war on drugs.
Uruguay shocked the world in 2013 when it became the first country to fully legalize cannabis, Nadelmann said. Additionally, two years later Jamaica passed a bill decriminalizing marijuana. And countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, from Chile to Colombia to Puerto Rico, are now seeking to allow medical marijuana and remove criminal penalties for adults who use it recreationally.
6 countries (excluding US) with favorable policies
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in 1992, Israel has become the world leader in cannabis research. The Israeli Ministry of Health treats tens of thousands of patients subscribed to medical cannabis.
Recently, the Israeli government has taken steps to decriminalize recreational marijuana, with minor possession that could soon lead to fines rather than criminal records.
For more than a decade, Canada runs a federal medical cannabis program. And in 2016, the courts upheld patients 'rights to grow cannabis at home, finding that a federal proposal to limit patients' rights was "not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he intends to honor his election promise. He plans to legalize recreational marijuana across the country, possibly within the next 24 months ...
“Justin Trudeau was, I think, more or less, the first national political candidate to compete on a campaign platform that included the legalization of marijuana,” Nadelmann said. “I think this will be a big step forward. "
While US legalization regimes have created strong commercial markets aimed at generating new tax revenue, Uruguay took the opposite direction when it legalized marijuana in 2013. The policy of the American nation is to fight crime organized. This is why Uruguay is committed to making cannabis legal and cheap (around $ 1 per gram).
The country has been "remarkably slow" in rolling out their cannabis program, Nadelmann noted. But he said they haven't shown signs of backing down from their commitment.
A year ago, Australia became the first continent to legalize recreational marijuana. Regulators have since worked on the details of how this program will work.
The February 22, Australian Minister of Health, Greg Hunt, announced that the medical marijuana imported will be made available to patients.
Since it is the tourist marijuana home of Amsterdam's Mecca, many people have long believed that marijuana is legal in the Netherlands. But the government only tolerates recreational use, with no legal opportunity for people to grow and sell cannabis to these companies. But this month, Dutch legislators voted to allow the cultivation of cannabis as a new industry.
“It now seems possible that the Netherlands will officially move towards legalization next year,” Nadelmann said. “Some very smart people are betting 50-50 that the Dutch would eventually skip the backdoor issue and actually go for full legalization. "
If Canada legalizes cannabis this year, Mexico will be the last country in North America without a pot law. But the Mexican leaders have recently taken steps to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize recreational pot. However, President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke about the limited benefits of the ban at a United Nations summit on drugs in 2016.
Public support is still not behind marijuana in Mexico, Nadelmann noted. Indeed, it has gone from just 7% a decade ago to around 37% today.
There are a handful of places where marijuana policies are moving in the opposite direction. Just like the brutal crusade of the Philippine government against anyone who consumes cannabis.
Other parts of Asia and Africa are considering loosening their tough positions, including Thailand and Ghana. But some countries where marijuana remains illegal in at least a few cases:
Japan: Illegal possession of recreational use; Punishment up to 5 years in prison.
Malaysia: Possession of 7 ounces or more punishable by death.
Nigeria: Illegal possession; Up to 12 years in prison for personal use and up to life in prison for trafficking.
Saudi Arabia: Illegal possession of a recreational use and punishable by six months or more in prison; Possession for sale can result in execution.
Emirats arabes unis : Illegal possession; Punishment up to 4 years in prison.
The (political) revolution continues
Yu-Wei Luke Chu, an economics professor in New Zealand who studies marijuana policies, said his country was taking steps to legalize medical cannabis. And as part of this process, the country is pursuing legalization experiments in the United States. But even when the United States leads the way, policies change rapidly in places as diverse as Canada, Israel, Morocco and arguably the United States. France ...
“We are definitely a world away from where we were five years ago,” Hetzer said. "And I think we're only going to continue to see marijuana reform… take steam." "